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Opinion

Readers React: Californians aren’t going to take the gutting of their environmental laws lying down

Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, James Hackett, Larry Kudlow
President Trump holds a meeting with automotive executives at the White House on May 11, 2018.
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

To the editor: That Californians would allow President Trump and Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt to give children asthma and kill seniors with environmental cancers by forcing the state to relax its emissions requirements on new vehicles is absurd. (“Auto executives got more than they bargained for in lobbying Trump to ease fuel standard,” May 11)

In 2016, Trump lost California by more than 3 million votes. That’s a lot of angry people if he tried to change the state’s sensible fuel efficiency and air quality protections.

It has been reported that about 12 billion more barrels of oil will be sold annually if fuel standards are relaxed. Is that the real reason for this charade?

Auto companies danced with the devil during the George W. Bush years. If they do so again, there will be a rush toward electric vehicles. Imagine the boycotts, with signs like “Ford = asthma” and “GM = lung cancer.”

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Steve Chapple, Del Mar

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To the editor: Regarding California and 17 other states suing the EPA to block changes to the emission standards, the states have a much faster and cheaper way to achieve the same result.

Simply impose a gas-guzzler tax of 10% on a vehicle’s list price for every combined mile per gallon less than a certain value. Thus, the buyer of a $40,000 sport utility vehicle that gets 18 mpg instead of the desired 22 mpg would pay a gas-guzzler tax of $16,000.

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Adding a similar tax to the vehicle registration should result in plummeting sales of fuel-inefficient vehicles, thus achieving the desired goal without a lawsuit and the associated millions in legal fees.

Jim Winterroth, Torrance

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To the editor: This article referred to “free-market activists influential in the administration.” Let’s be clear what kind of free market they want.

It is either a market where business is free from responsibility for the harm it causes (deregulation), or one where business is free to control markets without government interference (small government).

Entire sectors of our “free-market system” are growing more and more concentrated in the hands of a small number of large corporations. To increase profitability, they want to cut costs and raise prices by ending or limiting competition to control markets.

Only the federal government can resist these forces to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the American people. It is the people’s only defense against concentrated private wealth.

The Trump administration has made clear what kind of free market it wants: great for the powerful, worse for everyone else.

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Peter Langenberg, South Pasadena

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